What is Red Teaming ?

Red Teaming is a full-scope, multi-layered attack simulation designed to measure how well a company’s people and networks, applications and physical security controls can withstand an attack from a real-life adversary.

Say what?

To put red teaming in layman’s terms, it’s “ethical hacking”—a way for independent, third-party security teams to test how well an organization would fare in the face of a real attack.

A thorough red team test will expose vulnerabilities and risks regarding:
@) Technology — Networks, applications, routers, switches, appliances, etc.
@) People — Staff, independent contractors, departments, business partners, etc.
@) Physical — Offices, warehouses, substations, data centers, buildings, etc.

We can compare Red Teaming to the old sports saying, ‘the best offense is a good defense.’ Red teaming helps a business remain competitive while securing its business interests by leveraging social engineering and physical, application and network penetration testing to find ways to shore up your defenses.

During a red team engagement, highly trained security consultants enact attack scenarios to reveal potential physical, hardware, software and human vulnerabilities. Red team engagements also identify opportunities for bad actors and malicious insiders to compromise company systems and networks or enable data breaches.

A well-executed red team operation considers the scale of your organization alongside threats in your particular industry to tailor specific tests to perform.

Comprehensive red teaming covers Penetration Testing (network, application, mobile, device), Social Engineering (onsite, telephone, email/text, chat), and Physical Intrusion (lock picking, camera evasion, alarm bypass).

Blue team members are, by definition, the internal cybersecurity staff, whereas the red team is the external entity with the intent to break into the system The red team is hired to test the effectiveness of blue team by emulating the behaviors of a real black-hat hack group, to make the attack as realistic as chaotic as possible to challenge both teams equally.
On the other hand, the blue team tries to stop these stimulated attacks. By doing so, the defensive team learns to react and defend varied situations.

Suppose if you are a member of a Red Team, then what steps your RED TEAM would undertake?

1. Set Objectives

The objectives you set should always be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely in nature. Setting these SMART objectives is vital to measure the progress of your Red Team, track your attack goals, and determine if your team accomplishes these goals. These objectives can be either simple or complex in nature, but always guide your Red Team’s focus when attacking your system.

2. Gather Information

Once the objectives of an attack have been determined, Red Teams must then gather information on their attack target. This information will be vital to your Red Team’s targeting efforts when trying to find vulnerable vectors to penetrate a system. Information gathered here varies greatly in nature, ranging from technical specifics of a system to the names and personal information of employees at the company. Anything and everything that can be used in your attack should be found and documented in this stage of Red Teaming.

3. Simulate Attack

This stage of Red Teaming is when all of your preparation culminates to a real attack attempt. In this step Red Teams use all of the tools and information at their disposal to try and compromise your client company’s system. Their defenses and Blue Team are put to the test, and all vulnerabilities identified by your Red Team will be documented for future reporting.

4. Report Findings

Once you have performed an attack on your client company it is time to sort out the importance priority of each vulnerability for that company. In this step your Red Team will accumulate all of their findings, document the risks and vulnerability of each attack vector, and report these findings to your client company's cyber security team so that these can be patched and resolved in the future.

Red team assessments run from 5-6 weeks to a few months depending upon the scope. As this is a scenario driven exercise, no credentials are provided to the red team consultants. Unlike penetration testing that is conducted on the staging/development environments (mostly in case of web applications), red team is always targeted at the production environment.